“The nazir will shave his consecrated head at the entrance to the tent of meeting, take the hair removed from his consecrated head and put it on the fire under the sacrifice of peace offerings. When the ram has been boiled, the cohen is to take its shoulder, one loaf of matzah from the basket and one unleavened wafer, and place them in the hands of the nazir, after he has shaved his consecrated head. The cohen is to wave them as a wave offering before Adonai; this is set aside for the cohen, along with the breast for waving and the raised-up thigh. Following that, the nazir may drink wine.”-Numbers 6:18-20
Today we’re going to finish up studying the procedures one had to go through to become a Nazarite and complete the period of his vow.
In verses 18-20, we’re told the Nazarite shaved off his hair, offered it up as a sacrificial burnt offering and then after that we’re told he or she was allowed to drink wine.
Being able to drink wine represented the culmination of the Nazarite’s vow.
The Nazarite was released from any and all obligations connected to his or her vow.
Let’s talk a little bit about how hair was viewed in the ancient Middle East.
In ancient days, hair was considered to be that part of the human anatomy that held man’s virility and power.
Hair was literally viewed as the seat of a man’s life force and among the pagans it was customary to offer up one’s hair as a burnt sacrifice to the gods.
This is why the hair of a Nazarite was considered to be the one thing that carried the Nazarite’s purity but also the one thing that could be defiled.
Therefore, when a Nazarite properly completed his vow, his or her hair was considered a CLEAN and HOLY thing that was acceptable to be offered to God.
On the other hand, if a Nazarite became defiled, the hair on his head was considered ritually impure and thus unacceptable to be offered up to God.
Since defiled hair was considered useless as an offering, it was either burned up in a normal fire or buried.
Now notice all of the sacrifices the Nazarite had to offer up after the completion of his or her vow period:
-the OLAH (the burnt offering)
-the MINCHAH (the grain offering)
-the ZEVAH (the peace offering)
-the ASHAM (the reparation or guilt offering)
The Nazarite had to bring offerings representing the four main kinds of sacrifices!
In other words, in addition to having to shave off all his or her precious hair, it also cost the Nazarite a total of three precious lambs to complete his or her vow.
All of this was a solemn reminder of just how important the decision to dedicate one’s life to the Lord was.
Before closing, there’s one other fascinating point I want to share.
I just told you how hair was viewed in the ancient Middle East and how their way of thinking was quite different from how we moderns think today.
Well, hair wasn’t the only part of the human anatomy whose function was viewed quite differently.
Another interesting and major difference was how the ancients thought about the brain and the heart.
During Bible times, people believed that a human’s thought processes occurred NOT in the brain but in the heart.
For example, check out this verse from Proverbs:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding”
If we were to retranslate that verse to reflect our modern way of thinking it should read “Trust in the LORD with all your MIND and lean not on your own understanding”.
In other words, our intellectual thought processes should be conformed to God’s way of thinking.
This makes sense as Yeshua said “As ye think, so shall ye be”.
We moderns (albeit in a metaphoric sense) usually consider the heart to be the seat of our deep emotions whether it’s passion, envy, or anger.
However, the ancients considered the liver and kidneys to be the seat of all these human emotions.
In other words, when an ancient Middle Easterner said “My liver is acting up on me today“, it meant a totally different thing to him in his time than it would to us in our time.